Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man Adel Abdel Bary is back in Britain after being released early from a US prison.
Bary, 60, once the most wanted terrorist in the world, was jailed for 25 years by a US judge in 2015 for his role in the 1998 Al Qaeda attacks on embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
Claiming he was at risk from Covid-19 as a result of his morbid obesity, he was released early and returned to the UK on Thursday, where he is living back in a £1 million ($1.33m) flat in London which he shares with his wife.
Bary, who fled his native Egypt for Britain in 1991, was convicted of promoting the embassy attacks which also left 5,000 injured. He was bin Laden's former spokesman and spread propaganda on behalf of Al Qaeda from his London headquarters.
He was released several weeks earlier than planned because of his concerns about Covid-19 in prison. He was held in immigration custody prior to his return to the UK.
Bary served fewer than five years in a US prison after fighting extradition from custody in the UK for more than a decade. His sentence was reduced by 16 years because of the time he had spent on remand.
The father-of-six, who is morbidly obese and suffers from asthma, was held in a medium-security prison in New Jersey where nearly 10 per cent of inmates had tested positive for coronavirus, according to his lawyer. The UK was unable to block his return because he was granted asylum in 1997 after he claimed he was tortured by the Egyptian regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Bary was extradited to the US in 2012 after prosecutors said he was a "senior member of the embassy terror cell". Prosecutors said he claimed responsibility for the bombings.
Earlier this year, his lawyers told a New York court his morbid obesity was an “extraordinary and compelling” reason for mercy. “It is not sufficient to keep him away from his family in what could be the final period of his life,” said US district judge Lewis Kaplan.
The extradition agreement included provisions for Bary to be “removed from the United States and returned to the UK, specifically to his family in London” after serving his sentence. British officials are not permitted to place restrictions on his movements in the capital because Bary has completed his sentence, however, a government source said authorities are “very alive to the risk involved in his potential return”.
Bary was a key figure in Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which later merged with Al Qaeda. In April, his son Abdel Majed Abdel Bary was arrested in Spain – he was one of Europe’s most wanted ISIS terrorists.
Abdel Bary, a former rap artist, once posed with a severed head in Syria and promised death to all westerners after leaving the UK in 2013 to join ISIS. He left the group two years later after sustained coalition bombing and had been on the run.
Investigators believe he entered Spain a few days before his arrest in Almeria, a city in the south-east of the country.
A video of the raid showed armed police leading Abdel Bary and two associates from an apartment with their heads covered.